Monday, May 31, 2010

Knee injury...again

Well, since a few days before I did the half (two weeks ago) I've been having some soft tissue pain under the patella on my right knee. I was sort of hoping it would go away by taking it easy during my rest days (yes, I know it sounds stupid, but I didn't want to miss training).
So the day after I did my 3k TTs last week I got the same pain back again. I've been resting since then, including missing my long run at the weekend, which I was looking forward to. So I'll probably give today's run a miss too and see what the physio says tomorrow. As luck would have it, I've caught a head cold too, but at least it's at the same time as my knee injury, so it's not stopping me from running.


Friday, May 28, 2010

New shoes...or retail therapy?

As I've been having knee issues over the last couple of months, and yes, reading "Born To Run", I decided that I needed to revisit my shoes and why I was running in them in particular.
I am currently running in New Balance runners (can't remember the exact model of them), that I got last August. I tried running then, but didn't get any further than about 2.5k before collapsing, so after a month or so I stopped. My excuse was that the summer weather was too hot to train in. I know now that it was just that, an excuse. Anyway I restarted in March this year and then signed up with a running coach. I've been improving in leaps and bounds since then.
So I was checking out Athlete's Foot during lunch today for a more minimalist runner and ended up chatting to the assistant, Lisa, about my thoughts. She checked my feet and announced that I am a pronator, which is not necessarily bad, but my right foot pronates more than my left, so I decided to buy runners and inserts to correct that. I tried a few runner types and ended up buying a pair of Mizuno Wave Nexus 4s (pic below)...

So, I'm hoping that once I work myself into these gradually, I will be able to correct my knee issues and increase my performance...we'll see!


Thursday, May 27, 2010

3k Time Trials

Well, I was meant to do this training yesterday, but for two reasons I put it off to today:
  1. Right knee needs a rest, as per my physio...
  2. Weather was horrendous. Gale force winds and torrential rain for nearly all day.
So I took it easy yesterday and did some exercises and stretching to help my knee. I got all my kit ready for the morning, so I wouldn't be waking anyone in the house.
So this morning, I was up at 5:45 and had a couple of bananas and some water, gave that lot a few minutes to settle and went out for the training.
I started off with a 10min warm up run, which was uneventful, apart from seeing the street lights turn themselves off as the sun came up (which I didn't see as it was on the far side of some buildings).
Then (after a minute or two of rest), I did my 6 x 80m sprints by the beach. I mapped out the distance from a street light with a sign on it (telling people not to use skateboards I think), to another one further down that's at the apex of a bend in the promenade. Easy to remember that way. They went fine, getting faster with each sprint. Afterwards I had to walk up to the main street just over 1k away (to find some flat ground for my 3k TT)  and my knee started playing up again. I had taken the precaution of strapping it up anyway. But the pain subsided during the walk.
When I got to some flatter area I started running and probably put too much effort into the first km. I think I was trying to impress myself TBH. Before the half marathon, I had done 4 x 1km TTs and had a time of 6:00 to 6:10 for each. Which is a bit slow for me. After I did the half, I realised that my pace was almost the same as for my 1k TTs, weird! So Coach Pat said I would probably do the 3k TT in under 17mins.
I was a bit surprised, and very happy when I finished in 15:33 :-)
I have tomorrow as a rest day and will be doing a long run on Saturday, about 1:20mins.

Update you then. Have a good run!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sam run as before

Today I ran the same route as yesterday, but I did it at a more relaxed pace. For some reason I ended up doing a 10sec per km faster than yesterday...not quite sure how that happened...
I've been having a niggly pain in my right knee, in the soft tissue just below the patella. It's been on and off for a couple of weeks, so I went to the physio. I was putting it off, as I didn't want him to tell me not to run, and I know that is kind of self-defeating in the long run.
Anyway, just back from there and he said my right quad is not as defined as my left, so I must have had this issue and been favoring my other leg for a few weeks. So he's given me some exercises and stretches to do. He wanted to strap up the knee but I was adamant that he didn't. I had my left knee strapped up a few months ago and it essentially put me back about three weeks, as it took me a while to get back to where I was. Here's a pic of my left knee strapped a few months back - not pretty!

I'm going to keep running, but whereas I used to run on my "rest" days, I'm actually going to rest!
So I have training tomorrow, rest on Thursday and Friday, then long run on Saturday and rest on Sunday ready for more training on Monday. Back to the physio on Tuesday again.
We'll see how my plan goes!


Back to normal training week...

So this is my first normal training week after the half.
Yesterday (Monday) I did a 7.5k run in 45mins. I was trying to up the pace a little, but I don't think my average pace shows it really. There are some small hills on the back end of the route, which would have lowered the pace a little, but not much.
I have another, similar, run today, but there are time trials the following day, so I'll be taking it a bit easier.
Let you know how it goes!


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Post HM training run

Yesterday (Wednesday) was my first post-HM training run. I had been having some tightness in my calves, hamstrings and gluts, but these had all subsided with stretching over Monday and Tuesday. I still had some stiffness in my quads, so my legs felt a bit heavy. It had been raining pretty heavy in the morning, well, for the last couple of days really. so I bought a Nike Dri-Fit running jacket/windbreaker to help keep me warm & dry. So along with my normal training gear (runners, socks, shorts, Garmin, HR monitor), I also had the Dri-Fit and baseball cap. Of course, five minutes into the run, the clouds cleared and a bright blue sky pushed it's way across the sky to heat us up and dry up the rain.
I checked the Garmin about 1k into the run and it was giving me a low battery warning. I figured that as it's meant to last for hours, it should be fine for 40mins. eh, wrong! 2k into the run it died. Later in the run I powered it on again but it died immediately, so yes, it was a dead battery.
By the time I was 3k in, I had the jacket zip half open to cool down. Another 1k in, the zip was fully open, and by the 5k or so mark I had to walk, as I was way too hot to run. I walked for about 1min then ran again until I had reached the landmark where I usually have 40mins done. Walked from there!
I charged the Garmin when I got home and it took two hours, longest ever, a pretty good sign that it was a dead battery alright.
My legs were still pretty tight, so the not too tough run was ok. I had done a training swim on Tuesday evening too, so I think that helped loosen the legs a bit. Thursday is a rest day, and then a long run on Friday. Tell you about it then!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Post - SMH Half Marathon

I spent much of Saturday trying to rest, worrying about my knee and preparing for the race on Sunday. I had never done a "big" race before. I'd done races with anything from eight up to a few hundred people in them, but this was going to be thousands!
I had a BIG pasta and chicken dinner that evening, loads of carbs and protein and a good bit of water, but not too much. I put my bib number on my racing singlet and packed a bag with bits like gels, protein bars, water, sports drinks etc. having never done anything like this distance before, I had no idea just how I would feel after.
The race was going to start at 07:30, so I wanted to be there early. I needed to eat breakfast and give it time to settle, so I reckoned 05:00 would be right. In the end, I woke up just after 04:00 and couldn't get back to sleep, so at about 04:45 I got up anyway!
I had breakfast and as it was still dark and cold, I changed out of my singlet and into a full running t-shirt and set off in the car. I was driving along Oxford Street at about 05:30 and could see partygoers still hanging around outside bars and drinking. A bit surreal! Anyway, I got to the carpark just as it opened at 06:00 and got my stuff organized and walked a few hundred meters to Hyde Park. I met up with a few friends and chatted away as the sun came up.
There were over 10,000 registered for the race, but "only" 8,700 or thereabouts competed. Once the gun went off it took about five mins before I passed through the start line and I started off the clock on my Garmin...
I had on my fuel belt, that holds a water bottle and a pouch with space for two gel packs. I also had a couple of gel packs in the zip pocket of my running shorts - a bit of overkill! I got overtaken quite a bit, but then again I overtook a good few too. Some people started walking from the 3k mark, but not me. I was battling against myself today! As a friend recently said, I am my own Drill Sargent! I found the first 4k pretty good, not tough, not easy. I tend to find that the first few Ks I'm just settling into my stride really. The first drink station was at about 4.5k, so I walked over to it, got two cups of Gatorade, gulped them down and started running again. I did the same at all except the very last drink station, where I just ran past it.
The dreaded Hunter Street hill was tough, but not as bad as I had thought, even second time around. At the end of the first lap we were passing a sign that pointed the finishers to the left. I was hugely tempted to bow out at that stage and just take a rest, to stop running for the day...but I kept going. As Lance Armstrong would say (paraphrasing), "Pain is temporary, quitting lasts forever". I can live with pain for an hour or more during the race, I would never forgive myself for quitting.
I found the second lap a bit easier, as I knew what was coming. So where there was a hill I knew that the terrain just past it was pretty good, so I could keep going. Having said that, I certainly did the second lap slower. I found that towards the end of the second lap I would check my Garmin and tell anyone who wanted to listen "Only 4k left", or whatever the distance was. I think I was also pumping myself really. Just after the last drink station, with less than 1k to go, I put on a sprint...and then realized I was going uphill, so backed it back down again! I was hoping to sprint to the finish, but there were too many people in a narrow lane, so I just kept the pace, which was a bit faster than I had been at anyway. My time (on the Garmin), was 2:08, which I think is pretty respectible, seeing as I had never run more than 8.5k before!
Pic of JayDub (on the left) and myself in the recovery area.

Pic (L to R) of: Andrew, me, JayDub, Salena (my cousin), Jo R and my son in the front.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Countdown to half - Part 2

T minus 2 days and counting...
Ok, this morning I set my alarm for 06:00 so I could get my training run in before I had to go to work. It was chilly out and a bit windy too, so I opted for a long sleeve t-shirt, just as well! When I left the house I turned on the Garmin and did some stretching. Normally by the time I'm just around the corner of my road it has found satellites and is ready to go. Today I was walking for about 400m and it still hadn't finished, so I powered it off and back on. Now it had the usual time/distance etc on the display, so I started it and got running.
I'm watching the clock less these days, so I had done about 2k by the time I checked the Garmin again and it hadn't logged any time or distance...grrr. I hit reset and started it again and that seemed to work. I kept a close eye on it for the next 2k or so and it seemed to be ok, so I pretty much ignored it for the rest of the run. Of course it hadn't added the first part to the second part of the run, so that was a bit of a wipe out as far as recording it was concerned.
Well, two days before my first half marathon and for the rest of today and tomorrow I am officially resting! My knee is playing up a bit, and I'm undecided whether I should strap it up for the race or not, just to keep it going. I'll see how I feel on the day I guess.
I've pretty much given up coffee now, definitely given up paying $3-5 for a coffee, that's for sure! I'll have one instant coffee a day, maybe, but that's my limit. My body hasn't been crying out for it, so why bother? I'm in carb loading mode now, lots of pasta and brown rice. I'm also going to try protein drinks for post-race recovery...and possibly an ice bath for my legs...we'll see about that one :-)


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Countdown to half - Part 1

T minus 3 days and counting...
I haven't posted since Sunday, so I'll catch up: On Monday I was meant to run for 40mins...but when 40min came around I was still a bit far from home on the route I had chosen, so I did 44mins and covered 7.3k. I was listening to a couple of podcasts from Trail Runner and Ted B. These are both really good to listen to, and managed to keep me entertained! Also, a fellow runner from Sydney has just started a podcast here, check it out!
Tuesday, I did a 30min run, covering 5.2k. Wasn't very exciting, but seeing the sun come up over the sea was nice at the end of the run.
On Wednesday I did a 10min warmup run, followed by 12 reps of 30sec run at 80% pace, then a 30sec jog (JR), then back to run. After that I did 10mins warm down run. On the last part of my run I felt a bit tender in the soft tissue under my right knee. Hopefully it's just down to quads needing a bit more stretching time, as it was a cold morning. I put some anti-inflammatory gel on it anyway.
Thursday (today), is a rest day, good timing too! Knee is still a bit sore, but I'll do some more stretching later and put more gel on it too. I have a 40min run in the morning, and it'll have to be early, cause I have to go to the office tomorrow. I normally work from home.
I'm eating a lot of pasta, brown rice etc for carbs this week. Also a lot of chicken and eggs (separately!) for protein. I got a protein drink, powdered, earlier. It's meant to aid muscle recovery, so I'll try it after my run tomorrow, and after the half on Sunday. I'll post back how I get on. I'm fully stocked with energy gels from GU, BSC and Powerbar and also a pre-run bar too. I also got some gel "sweets" from Powerbar. I'll be stuffing my pocket and my fuel belt with bits to keep me going! I haven't decided on Gatorade or water for my water bottle, but I'll probably go with water, as I've heard bad things about mixing sports drinks and gels during a race.
Take care!

Monday, May 10, 2010

So much for a rest day...

So I am seven days away from my first half marathon and Coach Pat has told me to take the weekend off - rest days. So by Sunday afternoon it was too much for me and I went for a "relaxed" run.
I ended up doing 45mins and just over 7.5k at a decent pace too. I did enjoy it though. Normally on a training run, I am looking at the Garmin every 5-8 mins or so to see how much more I have to do on that day. This run, I only really checked it about three times and found that I was a lot more relaxed and my breathing and general form felt a lot better.

According to my training schedule, I'm running the next three days, then rest on Thursday, running Friday, rest Saturday and ready for the half on Sunday morning - early.


Friday, May 7, 2010

Furthest ever!

Well yesterday was a rest day, which I needed. So today Coach Pat had asked/told me to do a 50min run. I've never done that before. The longest time I had run continuously was 40mins, and that was on Monday! I was nervous, but not sure why. It was almost like I was going in for a race.
So I got all my running gear ready and set the alarm for 06:00, so I could get the run in before work. It was chilly leaving the house, but I had on my DM t-shirt to give me a bit of confidence, so off I sped. I was doing the same route as I had done on my 40 and 30min runs during the week, only this time in reverse, so I wouldn't have an uphill near the end of the run. That was a good plan as it happened!
I was at 2.5k by the time I felt that the cold wasn't bothering me anymore, and soon enough I looked at my Garmin and it showed 20mins. Ah, I thought, only 10min left - no, actually there's 30min left! That was weird, and a bit surreal...
Anyway I got back to the end of the road where I live, but still had about 8mins left, so I kept going and stopped just after the 50min mark and walked back. By now my legs were starting to feel a bit stiff, and when I got home I gave them a quick dunk in a hot bath and then a hot shower, but they're still a bit stiff now, 6 hours later. The next two days are rest days, but I might do a light run on Sunday.
That was my longest continuous run ever, 50min for 8.7k. I'm well proud of myself, as of Feb this year I could only manage 2.5 - 3k before having to walk! :-)


Thursday, May 6, 2010

Time trials - 1k

Well yesterday I had some 1k time trials to do. So I did my 10 minute warm up run and then mapped out a 500m route. I started off and turned and ran back and hit the timer on my Garmin. Then it was a 1 minute walking rest, followed by three more of the same runs. Each run was between 6:10 and 6:00, with the fastest being the last, but not planned that way. Coach Pat tells me that its a good thing that all of the runs were close in timing.
Then it was a 13 minute or so run home, with a bit of a walk at the end to warm down. Feeling good, but my legs are tired from four days running in a row, seeing as I did little last week, and nothing the week before!
I have a 40 minute run before work tomorrow, which I'm looking forward to, but it's getting chilly these days with autumn creeping in.

Here's a race t-shirt for the SMH half marathon that I'm going in for, starting in about 8 days. Not sure why they sent them out early, they must have a lot of confidence that I'm going to finish! :-)


Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Running tired

After nearly two weeks of illness induced rest, I have just run three days in a row, and I feel it! Today was a 30 min run, which I took pretty easy, but still managed to clock up 5.2k. Previously I would have taken 33 mins to do this distance, although I did get a PB of 27:10 just before I took ill.
Tomorrow is interval training, so four days of running, but then I get a day off. Next week I'll be tapering down in preparation for the SMH Half Marathon.
Funny thing is, even though I am tired due to all the running, I still look forward to it...


Monday, May 3, 2010

The same, but more

Today I did the same route as yesterday, but my training said I needed to run for 40 mins continuous. I was debating which route to go, but opted for the same, just not stopping until I hit 40 mins. So yesterday I did 5.5k in just under 33 mins, and today was 6.8k in 40 mins. The last section was on a gradual incline, which was tough, but I went at it slowly and it levelled off just before the time was up. I was really happy with the result, as I had never run for this amount of time continuously before!
I'm training again tomorrow and the next day, so I didn't want to overdo it.
Oh, and I just signed up for the Blackmore's Sydney half marathon in September...gulp!


Trying out gels on a run

Yesterday I did a 5.5k run in 25 degrees C and I was trying out my new fuel belt (with water bottle). I was also testing energey gels, even though it was a short enough distance for them.
The run itself went very well and I felt great at the end. I found the water bottle easy to get to and replace with the belt, so I'll be bringing that on most, if not all, of my runs from now on.
I took the first gel, grape flavored apparently, at 20mins into the run. I felt the "buzz" from it in a minute or so, but as it was a short run I hadn't really felt out of energy yet! It actually tasted of toffee or caramel, but it seemed to work. I tried another one, citrus, about 15mins after I stopped running and got a headache, probably from the caffeine! I'll keep them a bit further apart next time.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

Training, please!

Life, at the moment, seems to be conspiring for me not to train. This is not good, as I have a half marathon two weeks from today. I was planning on getting a run in today, but a work night out last night put paid to anything constructive happening at all!
I bought some energy gels that I'm going to test out tomorrow, along with a fuel belt (only $19!), so if nothing else I'll be more prepared for a good distance.
There is a small peninsula locally that I have driven to, and I just checked the distance of the run - its 18k there and back from the house...gulp! A bit further than I thought, but its the kind of distance I need to be doing. I'll see how I feel in the morning! :-)